(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump sharpened his attacks on Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party on Saturday, saying he would make American inner cities safe as part of an ongoing effort to pull in minority voters.
The Republican reminded his audience that Clinton had once called black youth “super-predators.” Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, apologized earlier this year for her 1996 comment about gangs, which Trump’s campaign is featuring on Instagram. “Looking back, I shouldn’t have used those words, and I wouldn’t use them today,” Clinton said in February.
Saturday’s speech in Des Moines, Iowa, was the latest in a week-long effort by Trump, who trails Clinton in most national and swing-state opinion polls, to broaden his support beyond the white voters who put him over the top in the Republican primary race. Recent polls have shown him with single-digit support among likely black voters.
As he did earlier on Twitter, Trump seized on the shooting death in Chicago on Friday of Nykea Aldridge, 32, a cousin of NBA basketball star Dwyane Wade.
“She was the mother of four and was killed while pushing her infant child down the street -- shot. It breaks all of our hearts to see it,” Trump said at the second annual “Roast and Ride” event at the Iowa State Fairgrounds hosted by freshman Senator Joni Ernst, a rising star in the Republican Party.
Trump’s initial tweet on Saturday, which read in part, “Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!” drew social media scorn for not including condolences for Aldridge’s death and for initially misspelling Wade’s first name. A followup message was sent about an hour later saying Wade and his family were “in my thoughts and prayers.” To some, the post was reminiscent of Trump’s initial response to the Orlando mass shooting in June, when he accepted “congrats” on Twitter for having been “right on radical Islamic terrorism.’
“This shouldn’t happen in our country,” Trump said in Des Moines. “This shouldn’t happen in America. So we send our thoughts and prayers to the family and we also promise to fight for a much, much, much better tomorrow,” Trump said.
The Republican, using a teleprompter at times, spoke for almost 50 minutes in front of a wall of hay bales to a mostly white audience.
‘Beyond Belief Conditions’
Referencing cities including Detroit, Baltimore and Chicago, Trump said that conditions are “horrible, and it’s only getting worse.” Many African-Americans live in “beyond belief conditions -- bad,” Trump said.
Running through statistics about high unemployment in Detroit and the number of shootings in Chicago’s inner-city black community, which he tied to “decades and decades and decades” of Democratic policies, Trump said that if he’s president “it will get fixed.”
“Nothing means more to me than working to make our party the home of the African-American voter once again,” Trump said.
In a show of unity with the mainstream Republican Party, Trump was joined on stage by many of Iowa’s top lawmakers, including Ernst, Governor Terry Branstad and Representative Steve King. He briefly pivoted to what he said was Clinton’s plan for the agricultural economy: to “shut down family farms just like she wants to shut down the mines and the steelworkers.”